Since the beginning of the postseason, the energetic play and efficient scoring of Tony Parker and Danny Green have brought the San Antonio Spurs veterans back into the limelight.
Fans of the San Antonio Spurs have been continuously disappointed with Green and Parker this season. Between career-low averages and poor efficiency, the two veterans showed signs of decline throughout the regular season.
Now, as the Spurs face the Memphis Grizzlies in the first round of the playoffs, the classic play of Green and Parker have been revived.
Despite heavy criticism, Danny Green is one of the league’s elite ‘Three-and-D’ players. In 26 minutes per game, Green averaged about one steal, one block and 1.7 three-pointers. He also shot a solid 37.9 percent from behind the arc.
Danny Green just passed Bruce Bowen for 2nd in threes in Spurs playoff history:1. Manu Ginobili- 3092. Danny Green- 1623 Bruce Bowen- 161
— Jordan Howenstine (@AirlessJordan) April 18, 2017
While this was a noticeable improvement from his 33 percent three-point shooting last season, it’s still not up to par with his shooting in earlier seasons.
In the Spurs’ first two playoff games, Green is averaging 2.5 blocks and has connected on four of seven three-pointers. In addition, his on-ball defense throughout the series has been unmatched.
Green’s perimeter defense on Mike Conley and Vince Carter has forced the Grizzlies into poor shot selection and multiple turnovers. His smothering defense has drained opposing guards by using his strength, anticipation and speed to slow them down.
In addition to his on-ball defense, Green’s passes have been crisp, his decision making has been keen, and his efficiency has been through the roof. It’s safe to say that Green is back for the playoffs and he brought his “Tar Heel Triples” with him.
Spurs fans have had a love-hate relationship with veteran point guard Parker this season.
Parker is an established fan-favorite and is one of the most accomplished players in Spurs history. The former NBA Finals MVP has spent the last 15 years running the Spurs’ offense for head coach Gregg Popovich.
On the other hand, Parker had a terrible season this year. Parker, 34, notched career-lows in points and rebounds. In addition, Parker averaged his lowest assists per game since his rookie year.
The aggressiveness and efficiency that Spurs fans are accustomed to faded, as with his athleticism. Parker’s coveted floaters became rare and the spin-move became even more rare.
Tony Parker on corner 3-pointers this series: 4-4, 100 FG%
Tony Parker on all other shots this series: 8-13, 53.3 FG%
— Quixem Ramirez (@quixem) April 18, 2017
Despite Parker’s disappointing regular season, the postseason has brought hope back in San Antonio. Parker has shown signs of his old self through two games against the league’s third best defense.
In two games against the Grizzlies, Parker has averaged 16.5 points per game on 54 percent shooting. He has also connected on five of his seven three-point attempts. The classic floater has been extremely effective against the Grizzlies gritty defensive core of Marc Gasol and Conley.
Spurs fans have been blessed by “Father Time,” as legends like Tim Duncan, David Robinson and Manu Ginobli have each aged gracefully and adjusted their games to their lesser athleticism.
Parker hasn’t quite hit that point.
We all thought Tony Parker was reprising the Avery Johnson role on this Spurs team. Turns out, he's actually Steve Kerr.
— Jeff McDonald (@JMcDonald_SAEN) April 18, 2017
Green and Parker both have a great deal of playoff experience which will be key in guiding the Spurs’ new core to victory. With Kawhi Leonard playing MVP caliber basketball and the surrounding cast performing efficiently, the Spurs have a great chance at closing out the series in Memphis.
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If there’s anything that the past twenty years of Spurs basketball have taught us, it’s that postseason success is a team effort.
The resurgence of Green and Parker is a massive factor in the Spurs’ 2017 title run.